The FERC has adopted two new extreme cold weather reliability standards intended to implement key recommendations from the joint inquiry into 2021’s Winter Storm Uri to prevent severe power outages like those that affected millions of customers in Texas and the South Central states.
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) proposed reliability standards in October 2022, which contain new and updated requirements to enhance the reliability of the grid during episodes of extreme cold temperatures. The requirements improve the grid’s dependability with:
execution of generator freeze protection measures
enhanced cold weather preparedness plans
designation of freeze-sensitive equipment in generators
restorative actions for when equipment freeze issues occur
annual training for generator maintenance and operations personnel
procedures to improve the coordination of load reduction measures during a grid emergency
The FERC has approved the new extreme cold weather reliability standards but also identifies areas for improvement, directing NERC to:
revise the extreme cold weather preparedness and operations reliability standard to address matters concerning applicability, ambiguity, a lack of objective measures and deadlines, and prolonged, indefinite compliance periods
compile and analyze data over time to monitor and assess entities’ implementation of the new requirements
The FERC-approved reliability standards currently being implemented represent about half of the standards-related recommendations from the joint inquiry into the 2021 winter storm. The next phase (currently proceeding) of NERC’s standards development will address the remaining recommendations.